A great destination in Tumut Shire is the state listed heritage industrial site the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. The heritage gateway to Tumut Shire; it is one of the most important historic sites that identifies the discovery of gold in southern NSW and is a unique site that forms part of intensive gold mining landscape 1.5kms from Adelong.
The Adelong Gold Rush began in 1852 with the discovery of alluvial gold at upper Adelong. The Adelong gold field was declared in 1855 and reef gold was discovered in 1857 in the hills above Adelong .The Reef ore was processed in the ore crushing mills along the creek. The biggest and most important of these mills was the Reefer ore crushing machine built by Scotsmen William Wilson and William Ritchie, which remains for all visitors to view from the platform or wander through to interpret how reef ore was processed.
This mill processed ore from miners from Adelong and the wider district and ceased operation in 1915. Records indicate 5 tonnes of gold were sent to the Sydney mint from the Reefer ore crushing mill and a total of 25 tonnes was the estimate of gold extracted in the Adelong area. An additional 26 tonnes was recorded from the Gibraltar operation further down the creek at Grahamstown where there was reef mining, dredging and sluicing with power supplied by the ‘mighty” Adelong creek.
Batlow's gold rush began in 1854 when prospectors converged on Reedy Creek. As the population grew so did the demand for fresh produce. This led to establishment of many orchards and farms. Within a few years, fruit became a major industry, and in 1923 the first cool stores in New South Wales were constructed at Batlow.
Further afield, Kiandra was also the site of a gold rush. Although today, the town no longer exists, walking one of the historic trails conjures images of how life must have been in such a remote location almost two hundred years ago. There are remains of the gold mining days scattered throughout the landscape.
Since 2006 Tumut Shire Council has supported a significant conservation project on the state listed site. The Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins committee was formed as a 355 committee of council to review and make recommendations to council on the conservation and promotions of the ruins and the reserve. A part time coordinator was appointed to seek funding prepare submissions develop schedules of work liaise with traditional trades to undertake dry stone walling stone mason and lime mortar repointing.
Conservation work has included removing unwanted and invasive vegetation improving access paths rebuilding a collapsed dry stone wall repairing salt and water damage walls repointing sections of stone walls.
Conservation groups Green Corps and Conservation Volunteers of Australia have been valuable recourse in achieving much of the conservation work.
Interpretive signage has been installed at the visitors area the car park now accommodates buses and the viewing platform courtesy of the federal Government stimulus package 2009 provides a comprehensive view of the historic ruins.
Disability access is provided from the lower car park to the platform
The conservation project would not be possible without government funding through the Heritage Branch NSW Tourism corporate and private donors and all important volunteers
The site has suffered many flood since construction but none so fierce as the October 2101 flood when the important item the tailings dams were demolished ,however much still remains of the stone structures .
The Adelong Falls Walk and Falls reserve
The Adelong Falls Walk suffered serious erosion in the 2010 flood which has necessitated relocating the walk from Adelong village. The 2 walk now begins at the Adelong Alive Museum travels along the Snowy Mountains highway to Travers street and then follows the creek to the ruins.
The ruins are the center piece on the Adelong creek in a 50 acre reserve of natural bush and cleared land for all visors to wander and enjoy the natural environment .